University of Lethbridge President Dr. Mike Mahon chats about what's happening in the University community
In the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to vacuum floors, pilot a street sweeper, get lost in a corn maze and assist in the delivery of a baby. Add in an engaging panel discussion about the future of Canadian universities and a fun run through campus and it gives you a sense of the breadth of experience you can gain at a liberal arts university such as the U of L.
The first few months of my tenure as President have been fascinating. I have spent a lot of time trying to experience as much as I could here at the University, introducing myself to you and in turn, gaining an appreciation for the work you do on a daily basis. At times it has felt like an introduction, and at others it has been an initiation.
I appreciate the time you have taken to help me gain an understanding of the inner workings of the University, and the patience you have exhibited in teaching me some of the finer points of life at the U of L.
The caretaking staff was especially kind in their review of my vacuuming skills, while the crew in grounds was surprisingly confident in my ability to handle a street sweeper. Physical plant took me into the bowels of the building and gave me an education on what really keeps this university running, and Ancillary Services taught me about foods, beds and books, while the people in Health Sciences trusted me with the virtual delivery of a baby in their new Nursing Skills Lab.
My participation in the Arts & Science panel discussion on challenges facing Canadian universities was a very lively and thought-provoking exercise, as was the Team Jeopardy Challenge hosted by the Faculty of Management. The Faculty of Fine Arts gave me the opportunity to flex my acting chops in a drama class and try my hand at sculpting, while the Faculty of Education presented me with a host of student experiences and Human Resources led me into the heart of a corn maze. I also learned so much about how our library is changing to be a student focused learning centre and met many of our Pronghorn athletes at a breakfast for champions.
All of these experiences have been framed by my many opportunities to interact with our students, from SU breakfasts and Fresh Fest festivities to FNMI barbecues.
When you add in all the informal meetings I have had with units in the Registrar’s Office, Financial Services, CRDC and the International Centre for Students, I have gained a real understanding of the deep commitment people on campus have for the work they do across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
As I approach my Installation address, I am enthusiastic in taking this new-found knowledge of the University and moving from a phase of transition into one of action. That includes action committed to a learning environment centrally focused on a student-first attitude; action that is dedicated to building a comprehensive university across disciplines ranging from the social sciences to the sciences, humanities and fine arts; action dedicated to creating a person-first university environment for staff and faculty; and action dedicated to social responsibility and community engagement.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Convocation and Installation events and furthering the discussion of our University’s future.